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The Ba Sing Se Times, Issue 53: 2 February

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avatar wiki's community newsletter

Discussion report
Announcements and discussion results:

Technical report

  • The War Room was hosting a discussion on the merits of a UI overhaul for the Votes for deletion page, which was recently passed. Check it out here.

User rights report

From the editor

Welcome to the very first 2013 edition of The Ba Sing Se Times... And the beginning of a grand new year on the wiki! For the releases that will follow, I am happy to inform our readers that we've changed things up yet again - though this is more on the side of how we operate rather than any superficial changes to the newsletter itself. Indeed, the latter was already done on the last publication of 2012.

As one of the main sources of community opinion and local news, we have worked with individuals and groups to present the best face that the wiki has to offer - dealing with thoughtful perspectives on different issues in and out of the series, advertising usergroups and presenting the fruits of their labor, and facilitating the creative authors of the fanon portal as a public outlet to employ at their leisure.

However, I believe the Times can aspire to be far more than this, to the extent that we and our associates deliver exclusive news on the series at a professional capacity; the moment that a source comes out, you can expect the staff and the associates of The Ba Sing Se Times to be on the ball. To this end, we have implemented an affiliate program to gather the best and brightest when it comes to sniffing out headlines - and then presenting it as a representative of the newsletter.

So, to all of our readers, stay tuned for some big updates in the coming year, especially regarding the extended universe and Book 2 of The Legend of Korra!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Taikai Talk

(news flash music plays) Welcome to Taikai Talk: an informative column for all your latest news! :)

Good evening, morning, afternoon, day, night, or whatever is going on where you are right now. I'm WaterbenderTaikai here with your (evening, morning, afternoon, day, night, whatever) broadcast of Taikai Talk. (This evening, This morning, This afternoon, Today, Tonig– you just choose at this point...), I bring the news from the past month and for what's occured in this month. Tis' been a long time since we last had an issue of the BSST...well, for me at least. "...BSST...withdrawal...ahhhhhh...."

Anyway, the biggest news for us here at The Ba Sing Se Times was our initiative to get 'associates', as you know from KMP. We currently have a few and we still want some more. *Taikai slaps up a poster of Uncle Sam KMP pointing at you*

I sat down with one of our associates, FireFerret, and got the inside scoop on some opinions of her's.

"Hello, ATFF."

"Hello, Taikai."

"First, what do you think of the new BSST associates initiative?"

"I like the idea, a news letter should have news in it, after all. And I think having the BSST featuring news will definitely appeal to a reader."

"How often do you think you'll contribute, providing you're ever-so-important news?"

"Well, obviously if something is big the community should hear about it first, such as an air date for the next book. However, little more subtle things that not everybody has to know about instantly will go to the Times first."

"What is the best thing, you think, that the BSST has to offer?"

"The best thing is that the BSST has many 'best things'. It can appeal to all sorts of readers. Those who like comedy, serious analysis, or news. The best part of the BSST, is it gives something to everybody. :)"

"You often have some of the most important information on The Legend of Korra. What are you dying to find out more about that you don't know yet?"

"Hm, well, I'm honestly dying to find out three things:
1) Is Maiko canon?
2) Who is Lin's father?
3) What is Book 2 about?"

"Finally, do you have any words of encouragement to those who are contemplating contributing to our newsletter or would like to become an associate?"

"Go for it! All and any articles are accepted, and I guarantee at least one person will find it interesting."

"Thank you! :)"

In other news, there have been many forums that have passed, and some that did not. To see the changes to the wiki from past forums, look in the "Announcements and discussion results" above. Several of them have been page renames, such as "Katara's amulet", "Sifu Kisu", "Equalist biplane", and "Unnamed earthbending students". They were renamed as "Spirit Water", "Kisu", "Biplane", and "Earthbending academy teenagers" respectively. Other forums that passed include one on the harmony of spelling, inactive usergroups, and IRC advertising.

Besides the large changes in the Times, there has been an lol-able change in the Fanon Advertising Contest report this issue. In the fanon portal section of this issue, you can check out the surprises of the FAS Report from yours truly. ;)

In some monthly news, let's congratulate SparksFromHades on becoming the February User of the Month! :) The voting for March UotM is open on February 3rd and already, two nominations have been placed. Lots of kind votes were placed for SFH, as well as AcerEvan. Speaking of whom...on January 16th, Acer said goodbye to Avatar Wiki for the last time, and now, he is sorely missed. He was one of our most valuable contributors in the Fanon Portal, and now we all wish him well in the rest of his life.

Some more monthly news includes the featured fanon articles and series. For January 2013, Emblem of the Outlaw and Silent Hero in Emerald's Chapter 10 - Peasant Meets Royalty (SHiE) were featured as the series and article respectively. Congrats to MibuWolf and Minnichi! :) Currently, for February 2013, the series Phantoms by Aritiane and one-shot article Colours by Fruipit are featured! Congrats to them as well. :) Got an idea for a featured fanon article or series? Nominate one here!

During the month of January, in somewhat of fanon news, PreservationsWings and Typhoonmaster were accepted into the Fanon Review Squad, the best place for fanon reviews. They joined BSST-er Minnichi, and successful authors MibuWolf and Mageddon725 after BlackMonkey and Omashu Rocks officially left. If you want a review from these great authors and reviewers, make a request on the FRS main page.

That's all the news for now (plus it's gotten kinda long winded xD). Until next time, this is Taikai putting the 'news' back in newsletter. A.W. Urban Dictionary
Staff collabs.

Awkward Silence

noun; Long, uncomfortable moments of complete and utter stillness. It is very common in the main waters of the IRC, yet explodes into insanity when Minnichi, KettleMeetPot, and Lady Lostris are in the chat together. "Hi so-and-so." "Hey!" *Jeopardy music plays for three hours* "Minnichi has joined #wikia-avatar." "Lostris has joined #wikia-avatar." "KMP has joined #wikia-avatar." "Okay, people. That awkward silence is nothing now, nothing! Watch yourselves! Run for your lives! The oven is preheating!!!" "...You mean just me. Only my life's in danger." "Now what's this I hear about dying? You're sooo overdramatic, Minnichi." *Casually tosses fresh coals into brick oven.* "I agree, Lostris. The girl's insane! However, I do prefer not to lose another deputy editor..."

Cynical Vision

noun; The only explanation normal users have been able to come up with for those who dislike them out of nowhere: that the haters just see bad things in anything and everything. Perhaps it can even be traced back as far as the username. "Ugh, don't even get me started with the BSST staff. 'KettleMeetPot' obviously thinks himself as a shiny kettle, while we're all stupid rusty pots in comparison." "Uh..." "And then there's 'Minnichi'... So we're all 'mini' and worthless in her eyes, huh?" "Erm, I really dont think -" "And oh, so Taikai thinks he's good enough to call himself a waterbender now? Does that make him better than us or -" "ALRIGHT. You're insane. No wait - you must have cynical vision..." (Backs away)

"Everything cool is at the IRC"

What users think before they actually try out Avatar Wiki's chatroom. "Hahahahaha oh yeah, that was HILARIOUS." "Hey, what're you guys talking about?" "Hehehe oh, we were just having some fun on the IRC..." "What? Why does it always feel like IRC users have this separate awesome party going on, while I'm just out of the loop? I must log on, too!" (On the IRC) "Hello everyone! I've never been here before, but I'm so excited to be able to chat with you all. Now let's party it up!!!" *Crickets chirping* "...Okayyy, I'll just keep talking to myself then..."

Soap Opera

noun; What several users believe Avatar Wiki to be. "Oh, woe is me! Thou hath spoketh to thine soul in such a frightening and traumatizing manner." (Runs off) "...Huh?" "Look what you did! Don't you know you should never speak strongly when you disagree with someone? The poor soul can't even hold his chin up high whenever he looks you in the eye... Imagine how depressed and humiliated he'll be for the rest of -" "Okay, look. This is the internet. Not a soap opera.  He should know that." "Well, you -" "No." "But -" "No." "I -" "The internet. Does not coddle."


Something you'd think wouldn't apply to random internet communities, but it turns out users can follow you creepily on the Wiki. "This stalker's been driving me crazy! It's like she watches the recent activity ONLY to see if I'm in there." "Stalker? Don't you think that's going a little far? (Checks stalker's contribution history) ...Oh. Well, your name does kind of appear. A lot. Hmm." "No kidding! It's like I can't even have a normal conversation with anyone before -" "OH HAI THEREEE. So I heard you have a stalker? Who?" "...Hello." "Hi! :)" "..."
48px-5166974.png New Korra News

As promised– my thoughts about news over the past few weeks.

So, as you have probably seen in my blog, after an all-too-long-wait, we have finally received some news– if it's minimal. Nonetheless, it is exciting to wonder who the new character is, and when she will appear. Is she a spirit? Desna's sister? Or perhaps a love interest for Bolin? We probably will not find out for a while, but it's still a good piece of news.

However, the Korra fandom is still impatient, although it looks like nickelodeon is finally paying attention to their latest hit cartoon series. The Track Team, the people who have done the music for Avatar and Korra, have already begun to hint at their work. At first this may seem like nothing, but considering their tone of voice, it appears that they're hinting at something a lot of their fans are following for, and not to mention that carnival music may be involved in Book 2? Not to mention that it's known adding in sound is always one of the later additions to be done in Korra, so perhaps the release date is soon?

And to add on to that, an interesting note about the Alyson Stoner release, is that it's pretty clear she wasn't doing it on her own– she was most likely given the "ok" to do so. This is because she mentions she's not allowed to spill about another thing, so does that mean she was allowed to spill about her role on LoK?

To add on to that, nickelodeon has released a new lok game. Not to mention the official Korra Nation tumblr is becoming more active.

from the fanon portal
Writing for Another's Character

This was originally going to be a fanon news column, but well, we all know how active the portal generally is these days ^^" But I will point out that you should congratulate the featured authors for this month, however: Aritiane for his fanon, Phantoms, and Fruipit for her article and oneshot, Colours.

Anyway, I didn't feel the need to write this article out of my love and bias towards Vortex, the only living community fanon that I'm also a part of. (Heh well, understandable if you don't believe me though.) My inspiration came from something I hadn't expected when I became one of the authors: the unique and eye-opening experience of writing for another author's character.

This particular quality of Vortex is something that makes it very different from your average collaborative fanon. When I think about it, I believe it may actually be the reason its authors can still be motivated to meet regularly, peer review the chapters, and organize the publishing the way we have so far. The cast of Vortex are the stars of our best fanons: Ling from Agent Slash's Suki's Story, Kaddo from ARG's Avatar: Energy Saga, Shirou from BlackMonkey's The Avatar Rhythm, Yun from Mageddon725's Avatar- Aftermath and Burning Earth, Ursa from Wordbender's Air, and finally Yuhan from my Silent Hero in Emerald. (<-- A Dai Li fic, what a surprise!) The only new face is Olaiya, the antagonist specially created for this fanon by Suzon.

These characters are us Vortex authors' very own and very dear protagonists. Any writer reading this should know the feeling; an original character can have the essence of practically your own child, the way s/he grows and grows in both your mind and fanon. You only keep adding more details to that character as your story progresses, and eventually you see a permanent mental image of this unique, imaginary person whenever you write. It's not a surprise if s/he becomes precious to you.

Now imagine being told by someone else that they're going to go ahead and write for your protagonist. As in they're taking into their own hands the result of your dedicated efforts that brought your cherished character to life. To be honest, it still feels a little strange for me to see my character whenever I review a new chapter, going about and doing things that I didn't 'tell' him to do. And on the flip side, you know that every other author who's contributed their own character is feeling the same way. It's a bizarre process, especially when it's your turn to write a chapter and take over the actions of all the characters who aren't yours.

And now...I can say that it's something everyone in the fanon portal should try doing.

This isn't the same as writing for canon characters and striving to stay true to their personalities. It's much deeper this time, handling OC's that others have toiled over to create. I had thought that I'm used to evaluating fanons already, for reviews - but this kind of inspection was something entirely new. I'm currently writing Chapter 4 of Vortex, and I constantly scramble around the stories of each character's fanon for passages before I even dare to write a sentence containing dialogue. The thing about OC's is that they're people who only their original authors will know 100%. You can start to panic, if anything, when your writing is supposed to portray a whole group of them believably as themselves.

Which is why it's the most amazing feeling ever when it's pulled off correctly!

In Vortex, chapter review involves every author pointing out what was done right or wrong with their respective characters. Then comes that moment where your protagonist does things you didn't write, yet stays so true to himself/herself that you enjoy reading it. When another author has caught on that well, your OC kind of comes to life on a new level. After all, OC's are imaginary because they exist in only your head; with an experience like this, suddenly other authors know your character as well. Your protagonist is in a different mind, with a different set of plans...and when that author can write it believably, well, your character doesn't get much closer to being real than that. You're not the only one who knows him/her personally anymore.

Finally, what happens when you're the one getting to know someone else's OC and writing for them? Well, I really believe that you don't truly understand a fanon until you know its characters well enough to write them. You'd be surprised, too, at the effort it takes even when you're a hardcore and updated fan of the character's story. Suddenly you have to pay attention to specific parts in the passages, areas that tell you who they are - and slowly you start teaching yourself how to predict what they'd do in any situation.

It's this kind of evaluation, I think, that makes one truly able to grasp the idea of character development itself. One of the most important things that you have to deal with in a fanon like Vortex, for example, is the fact that you're always tempted to talk about your own character a lot while the others are supposed to be equally represented. You learn to downplay the spotlight on your character, make a habit of giving the same, deep focus on the others, and to avoid making your OC look too talented or wise in comparison. Basically, it's everything you're supposed to be doing in your OC's original fanon for character development. People tend to forget that anyone who isn't their protagonist needs the same care and attention - but in a fanon like Vortex, it's law.

You can't help favoring your own character, of course, but now you're writing for five equally important protagonists. And you kind of have to remember to represent them appropriately, because the other authors will pick it up like wildfire when their OC's are neglected or just winged.

The FAS Reporter Goes Big!

Welcome to the first ever Ba Sing Se Times Fanon Advertising System report for 2013! And I plan to go big for the this FAS, so get ready! For those of you who's first issue of the newsletter it is, or for those of you who don't know about our fabulous FAS, here's a quick intro.

*creepy, narrative, movie trailer voice: on* In a world wiki, plagued by the failure of fan fiction commercialism, a rag tag team of misfits BlackMonkey and the Fanonbenders come from the smoke machine fog heroic outlands to save the hopeless writers struggling fanon authors. Together, with their trusty sandwiches keyboard powers, they brought back the amazing Fanon Advertising System, to further allow authors to spread the word about their fanon and gain readers. Coming soon to theaters near nowhere.

Hm... I said intro, not trailer. Surprise! The first step of 'Operation: Go Big!' ;) Anyway, the FAS also features a distinctive contest that is easy to enter. (SO DO IT!) It's not that hard. All you have to do is write up some feedback for the fortnightly promotion fanon, sign you signature, and BAM!, you're instantly entered to win some amazing-licious prizes! They include:

  • A nifty, little userbox to spruce up you page!

But wait! There's more!

  • Bragging rights, who doesn't want those?

But wait!! There's more!!

  • Your username written on the FAS Contest page, forever and ever and ever...

But wait!!! There's more!!!

  • Recognition here in The Ba Sing Se Times!


  • And, a chance to win a fabu-tastic drawing from one of the pony-begging friends of Minnichi's over at!

So what are you waiting for? Order now!!! (The FAS contest does not protect against lawsuits, business suits, or pan suits. No exchanges or refunds. If you have any problems, questions, or concerns, contact us at FAScontest@not_a_real_thing_don' ... My info-merricial instincts come and go. ;)

But now that you've heard the movie trailer and the info-merricial, you're probably wondering, "What is that Taikai going to do for the announcement of the contest winner this time?!" Well so-and-so, that's a great question. I was planning on a parody/autotune song, but that doesn't go with the theme of television! XD

What else goes with movie trailers and info-merricials? Duh! Funny insurance commercials. Yup! The FAS column this time has gone to a new level, a new level I say! That's right. ;)

Aang and his cosmic Avatar Spirit

(RuleroftheBisons97) "I'm a farmer, but I'll enter the contest! Bah bum!"

(Typhoonmaster) "Like a good deputy, Tai-Farm is there...with the contest results!" *Taikai pops up*

(Taikai Dai Li/insurance agent) "Well Ty and Ruler, did you know that you two were the only ones who entered the contest with feedback for Avatar: The Mistakes of the Avatar?! It's about how each Avatar makes a mistake that gets fixed by the next generation. It has several subscribers, and good reception. Godsrule, the author, plans to write 120 chapters! But anyway, you probably want the winner to be announced... " *Taikai gets hit by a rock glove*

(Minnichi Dai Li agent) *puts down hand and grabs the envelope containing the results* "And if you get the results from Minn-state, you can save yourself from Dai Li Mayhem, like me. ;)"

(Taikai) "Like a good deputy, Tai-Farm is there...with the envelope back in my hands! *the envelope flashes into Taikai's hands*

(Minni-Mayhem) "Gasp! The agent can do it too?! Gimme that back, you!" *Taikai and Minni-Mayhem fight for the envelope, ensuing a tug-of-war battle. The envelope flies out of Minnichi's hands after Taikai lets go, and the results land on the ground in front of KettleMeetInsurance.*

(KettleMeetInsurance) "The winner is...Typhoonmaster for the third time! Congrats! :)" *KMI looks down at Taikai and Minni who are on the ground gasping, then turns to the camera* "Humans. Even when Taikai crosses his 'T' and Minni dots her 'i's, they still run into trouble. Each other! It's amazing they've made it this far... KettleMeetInsurance's No Liberty Mutual, un-responsibility: what's your policy?" *the screen freezes as a puff of smoke blows, then...*

(Lostris agent) "Avatar Wiki Profile # 1: Phased insurance agents, you're one of us. Lostris-CO: We're a lot like you, a little different."

And scene. ;) Congrats to Typhoonmaster, for his third win. Now people, are you going to let Ty win again? This time, enter so that there's some more competition. You saw that info-merricial, didn't you? XD

Be sure to read Avatar: The Mistakes of the Avatar, and tune in next time to the FAS Report when we feature The Lost Scrolls!

Random polls

Are you, reader of the Ba Sing Se Times, actually familiar with the community that it arises from?

The poll was created at 01:52 on February 4, 2013, and so far 79 people voted.
Would you be more likely to re-watch episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra?

The poll was created at 01:52 on February 4, 2013, and so far 146 people voted.
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